1923 - 2014

MERLE CURETON ODOM - 91 - Hillcrest Heights Lodge
LAKE WALES - Angels robes will hang straighter. Cherubim cheeks will plump. Celestial gardens will bloom brighter. Merle Cureton Odom, of Lake Wales, put away her needle and threads, iron skillet and pie pans, as well as beloved scuffle hoe to accept a much deserved position in God's entourage. Born in Henry County Alabama, on January 28, 1923 to Hosie Lee Cureton and Edith Hammons Cureton, Merle, truly a "Virtuous Woman" (Proverbs 31), passed on from complications following a hip fracture on January 31, 2014. The circumstances of her accident provides a perfect example of her resilient, determined nature. >The week prior to Thanksgiving 2013, the plucky nonagenarian was pulling weeds when she fell and shattered her hip. While she patiently waited rescue, Merle continued to uproot unwelcomed growth, saying she was "not just going to sit there and do nothing."< Gifted in many areas, especially those that involved a sewing machine or stove, Merle excelled at any task or leisure activity she undertook. Many will remember her delicious desserts including her signature and award-winning Butternut Cake. Throughout her long hospitalization, nursing home stay, re-hospitalization and finally home, just prior to her death, she looked forward to her great nephew's March wedding. She had planned not only to travel to Alabama for the nuptials but to bake her famous dessert for the groom's cake. In recovery after surgery, her first words were "I've got to get out of here, I've got a wedding cake to bake." Her desire to be a part of this celebration saw her through many dire and premature prognoses. One hospitalist stated he would offer no more opinions about Mrs. Odom's chances as she had proven him foolish too many times.
The last surviving member of her family's generation, Merle cared deeply for her siblings, children and he husband Oscar E. Odom'Sr deceased nieces and nephews. She often hosted large, extended-family gatherings of Mercers, Pitts, Reeves, Welchers, Odoms, Nortons and Curetons, taking nieces and nephews under her wing after their parents' passing. Many saw her as a surrogate mother. Annette Pitts Thompson of Newville Alabama lamented, "This is just like losing my mother all over again."
 >She was preceded in death by her husband of 33 years, Oscar Edward Odom; son, David Edward Odom; and daughters Ouida J. Odom and Shirley Odom Polk and granddaughter, Davida Kathlean Lee.
 > She leaves behind daughters Dale Odom Fischer (Dave), Mae Odom Lee and Kathy S. Odom, all of Lake Wales, daughter-in-law Sandra Odom and son-in-law Charles Polk, grandchildren and great grandchildren include Mark Edward Dill (Jennifer) and Joseph LeMaster (Asleigh) Christian Dill, Austin Dill, Kelsie Dill, Brianna Brown and great-great granddaughter Willow LeMaster. Simon Polk, Sarah Polk King and children, Jasmine and Thomas, and Samantha Polk. Erick Lee and children, Justin and Kelley, Adam Lee (Sue) and children, Tyler Lee, Collin Lee, Courtney and Jessica, Crystal Livingston and Lisa Peak (Lee) and son Layne. Also included are her "Sisters of the Heart" Betty Wine and Lois Parnell Vaughn.
 Friends and family should find comfort in Merle's uncontested relocation to the land of milk and honey ... and endless pecans. "Give her the fruit of her hands and let her works praise her in the gate." -- Proverbs 31. Services will be held Tuesday, February 4th, 2014 for family visitation, 10 a.m. general visitation. Services begin at 11 a.m. at Marion Nelson's Funeral Home, Lake Wales. Internment will follow at Lake Wales Cemetery. – Ledger, Tues., Feb. 4, 2014

Return to Lake Wales Index